Weeks later, progressives aren't saying sorry, not even just for show. This vote, they say, was a legacy-defining one that can't just be filed away in a scorecard or ignored as part of a larger legacy. "The anger," said Cohen, "is palpable."
"Here's what we learned during the TPP fight: There's a difference between fair-weather friends and true champions," Karthik Ganapathy, spokesman for 350.org, said in an email. "That's a distinction our movement takes seriously, because we need representatives who will stand with us even when it's hard. (Imagine a future fight whipping votes for a carbon tax)."
Not every targeted member is taking the hard stand that Blumenauer's taking and shutting out their naysayers. A spokesman for Murray said that she continues to work closely with labor groups "as she continues to fight for progressive policies that increase wages and economic security for workers and families across the country." That includes work on paid sick leave, the minimum wage, and worker scheduling—an issue that the AFL-CIO just last week praised Murray on.
A spokesman for Rice said "the lines of communication remain open and we look forward to working with labor on a lot of important issues," adding that the congresswoman had recently met with local Sierra Club members. And Bera said he looked forward to getting back on the same page as his supporters.
"I don't take any of this politics personally. Our job is to look past it, think about the people we serve, and do the right thing," Bera said in an interview. "During the August recess, I'll make a bunch of phone calls and take individual meetings to explain my rationale, how this is about creating higher-paying jobs, more middle-class jobs, and looking at ways to make sure we're addressing their concerns in the actual final bill."
And to be sure, not every group is shutting down relations with every member, not with a stacked agenda still ahead of Congress. Green groups will need every Democratic vote they can muster to beat back Republican attacks on President Obama's climate plan, while labor groups are staying active on workers' issues and the transportation-bill debate. Later this year, Congress will have to bring up the budget, review the Iran nuclear deal, and consider tax reform, all debates that carry the potential for intense lobbying and partisan debate.
That's why the Democrats themselves have been able to put the vote aside as business and stick together as a minority caucus, members said.
"We all have our battles to fight and our differences and disagreements, but as a caucus we come together to debate the issues," said Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who fought against the fast-track deal. "People can have different points of view in our caucus."
The fight isn't over; fast-track was just a prelude for the full Trans-Pacific Partnership that is still being negotiated and will have to clear Congress again.
But with negotiations being held out of the public eye, the best outside parties have to go on is to reflect on the fast-track failure and look ahead to the future.
"There's always room for redemption," said Murshed Zaheed, deputy political director for CREDO. "A dozen Democratic votes made the difference the last time, so the opportunity to fight is still there. There's still time for members to come to their senses."